ABCC alleges CFMMEU QLD representatives’ actions placed themselves and workers at risk on M1 Motorway project

Australian Building and Construction Commission

The ABCC has started court action against the CFMMEU and two of its Queensland state representatives alleging they contravened right of entry requirements and refused to comply with lawful safety directions at the M1 Motorway project in April 2021.

In its statement of claim the ABCC is alleging the following:

  • On 19 April the two officials, Dean Rielly and Paul Fitzpatrick, entered the M1 Motorway construction site using one of the site’s vehicle access points at Burleigh Heads ignoring signs requiring all visitors to report to the main site office.
  • When on site the officials entered a cordoned off exclusion zone where heavy machinery, including a crane, were working. Despite repeated directions to leave the high-risk area the officials refused to do so placing themselves and workers at risk. As a result of their presence work had to be stopped.
  • During his presence in the exclusion zone Mr Rielly was told words to the effect of:

We’re asking you not to go in the area … It’s dangerous for you to be in there. Don’t go in the area, it is unsafe, you’re unsupervised…

  • On 23 April Mr Rielly again entered the construction site. When on site Mr Rielly entered an exclusion zone where heavy machinery was laying asphalt. While in the exclusion zone he ignored repeated directions to leave and proceeded to walk unsafely around equipment and heavy vehicles. Mr Rielly also approached operating vehicles within the exclusion zone.
  • When repeatedly asked to leave the site, Mr Rielly stated words to the effect of:

I’m not going, you can ask all you want, but I’m not leaving …

The ABCC is alleging the CFMMEU, Mr Rielly and Mr Fitzpatrick contravened sections 499 and 500 of the Fair Work Act 2009 by failing to comply with the site’s occupational health and safety requirements and acting in an improper manner, including by entering a designated exclusion zone and then refusing to move to a safe location.

The maximum penalty for each contravention of the Fair Work Act is $66,600 for a body corporate and $13,320 for an individual.

The ABCC is seeking personal payment orders against Mr Rielly and Mr Fitzpatrick. Such an order would require Court imposed penalties to be paid personally by the representatives and not paid or reimbursed directly or indirectly by the CFMMEU or through crowd funding.

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